Settling Velocity of Particles in Viscoelastic Fluids: A Comparison of the Shear-Viscosity and Elasticity Effects
- Sumanth Kumar Arnipally (University of Alberta) | Ergun Kuru (University of Alberta)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Journal
- Publication Date
- October 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 1,689 - 1,705
- 2018.Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Drilling Fluids, Settling Velocity, Particle Image Shadowgraph, Viscoelasticity
- 20 in the last 30 days
- 175 since 2007
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The objective of this paper is to determine how fluid shear viscosity and elasticity might influence the particle-settling velocity, and even more so to answer the question of which one of these two rheological properties is more dominant in controlling the particle-settling velocity when viscoelastic drilling fluids are used.
The settling velocities of spherical particles (diameters: 1.18, 1.5, 2, and 3 mm) in partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide (HPAM) polymer fluids were measured using the particle-image-shadow graph (PIS) technique. Two sets of test fluids were formulated by mixing three different grades of HPAM (molecular weights of 500,000, 8 million, and 20 million g/g mol) at polymer concentrations of 0.09, 0.05, and 0.03 wt%. The shear-viscosity and elasticity characteristics of test fluids were determined by performing shear-viscosity and frequency-sweep oscillatory measurements, respectively. The first set of fluids had almost identical shear-viscosity characteristics while showing significantly different elastic properties (quantified in terms of relaxation time). The second set of fluids had similar elastic properties but different shear-viscosity characteristics. In addition, the effect of the particle size on the settling velocities in these test fluids was also investigated.
The experimentally measured settling velocities were compared with the values calculated from the Shah et al. (2007) model developed for predicting the settling velocity of spherical particles in power-law (viscoinelastic) fluids as well as the values calculated from the Malhotra and Sharma (2012) correlation developed for settling velocity in shear-thinning viscoelastic fluids in unconfined media.
Experimental results showed the following:
- When the fluids with similar shear-viscosity profiles were used, the settling velocity of spherical particles decreased significantly with the increasing fluid elasticity.
- The settling-velocity values can be 14 to 50 times overestimated if the effect of the elasticity is not considered.
- At constant elasticity, the settling velocity of spherical particles also decreased significantly when the fluid shear viscosity was increased.
- The spherical particle-settling velocity increased pronouncedly as particle diameter increased from 1.18 to 3 mm. However, the magnitude of the increase in settling velocity with the increasing particle diameter is less for the samples with higher elasticity and similar shear-viscosity characteristics.
The fluid shear viscosity and the elasticity both seem to have significant effect on the particle-settling velocity. However, from the field operational point of view, fluids with high shear-viscosity values are not always practical to use because the high shear viscosity increases parasitic pressure losses and potentially has a negative effect on the drilling rate. Hence, in such cases increasing the fluid elasticity can help to reduce the particle-settling velocity even at lower shear-viscosity values.
By conducting experiments under controlled conditions, we were able to quantify the individual effects of fluid shear viscosity and elasticity on the particle-settling velocity for the first time in drilling literature.
|File Size||1 MB||Number of Pages||17|
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